by Beth Keating
February 2, 2021
Following the success of the Christmas Day launch of the Disney/Pixar animated movie Soul, the Disney Imagineers have created a February exhibit celebrating the rich history of jazz music. Hosted at The American Adventure pavilion at Disney’s EPCOT, “The Soul of Jazz: An American Adventure,” showcases this “distinctly American musical art form, originated by African Americans and fusing the influences of many different cultures.”
“The Soul of Jazz” is not a typical marketing display of memorabilia from the movie, but rather, was created with the assistance of jazz experts and museums across the country as a way of inspiring guests to “explore the rich history and influence of this ever-evolving genre of music.”
At the exhibit, visitors accompany Joe Gardner, the jazz musician and teacher from the movie Soul, on a musical tour of several of the cities that were influential in the history and development of jazz, including New Orleans, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Juan and New York. Artifacts from legendary jazz musicians are on display, showcasing such items as Gene Krupa’s drumsticks, Bix Beiderbecke’s cornet and one of Louis Armstrong’s own trumpets. Sheet music from drummer Louis Bellson is there, but the actual handwriting on the sheets may be that of the legendary Duke Ellington. Sheet music from the first jazz composer, Jelly Roll Morton, is highlighted as well (Ever been to Jelly Rolls club over at Disney’s BoardWalk for the dueling pianos?)
You can put your knowledge of jazz to the test through the Play Disney Parks mobile app, which will allow you to interact with the exhibit along your journey.
Disney Parks Blog shared a video promoting the exhibit from Jon Batiste, the American pianist and band leader who composed the jazz music for Soul, and also stepped in to create the musical performances for the character of Joe Gardner in the movie.
If you have not yet seen Soul, it is currently streaming on Disney+. Check it out before heading to the exhibit at EPCOT, and see the DisneyBizJournal commentary on Soul here.
Beth Keating is a regular contributor to DisneyBizJournal.
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